Ten Ways I'm Making My Semester A Great One

10 Ways I'm Going To Make Sure My Spring Semester Is Successful

I want to have a great spring semester, so I'm taking some steps to ensure I get there.

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Now that I'm approaching my second semester of college, I want to make it better than the fall. My transition during my first semester was rough and I found myself slipping into a depressive episode by the end. These are the steps I'm going to implement into my daily routine to keep myself healthy and happy this semester.

1. Keep a sound sleep schedule.

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As a college student, this seems like wishful thinking. However, I know I function better in the morning and have never been able to stay up until the early morning doing work. Because of this and the fact that I have morning classes all week, I'm going to try to maintain a schedule, as much as I can. This includes sleeping at the same time every night and waking up at the same time.

2. Follow a consistent morning routine.

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The morning is my favorite time of day and I want to optimize it so that I start off the day feeling put together and happy. My routine includes eating breakfast, meditating, and checking my planner for the day. Becoming more consistent with these steps will give me the most benefit throughout the day.

3. Journal almost every night.

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Journaling is my favorite thing to do when I have a lot on my mind at night. Getting it all out on a piece of paper is relaxing and so helpful in relieving anxiety and stopping me from overthinking. I follow this up with a daily gratitude practice which I have previously written an article on.

4. Eating healthy and keeping a workout routine.

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Diet and exercise are two of the most important things I can do for myself. Making better decisions in the dining hall makes me feel fueled and ready to go, as well as scheduling in a daily stint at the gym to relieve stress and build strength. Preparing a routine for myself ahead of time and sticking to it can make going to the gym less intimidating.

5. Work on time management.

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Time management is the most difficult thing for a college freshman to learn. We go from very structured schedules to having loads of free time around classes. Figuring out how to use that time is slightly overwhelming. Scheduling out blocks of time for designated work and also time for leisure can make using that time in a balanced way more approachable.

6. Stay organized.

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Keeping a planner to keep my day organized, as well as keeping my space organized is imperative to being a successful college student. You know what they say, a cluttered space means a cluttered mind, and we don't have time for a cluttered mind.

7. Make time for my social life.

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No one said successful college students can't have a social life! Last semester, I found it difficult to make friends and rarely went out. This just added to my loneliness and, therefore, my depression. Nourishing your friendships and connecting with other students is more important than you think!

8. Fit in "me" time.

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Everyone knows self care is important, but oftentimes college students get too caught up in the stress and busyness of school that we forget to take care of ourselves until we're completely burnt out. Scheduling some time in once a week or more for some good ol self care can do wonders for the psyche.

9. Read for fun.

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I always miss reading books I want to read when I'm in the throws of the semester. It seems like we have no time, but if we intentionally delegate time for reading, it makes it easier to find the time to do it.

10. Take breaks.

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Taking breaks, whether it be breaking up my study time or going home for a weekend away from school, is a good way to avoid burnout. Giving my mind and body some rest will keep me in tip-top shape so I can do my best work.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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